I'm not sure I believe everything Patricia Love and Steven Stosny have to say in How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It, but while reading the introduction, I decided they might have a point:
If you were to say to the man in your life, "Honey, we need to talk about our relationship," what do you think would happen?
If he would answer this question with something like "I thought you'd never ask!" or "I've been dying to share my feelings about our life together, and I especially want to hear how you feel about us and what you want for us," then neither of you needs to read his book. Most women would expect their men would get distracted, defensive, irritated, or fidgety, or roll their eyes or shut down completely; and most men would feel like they were being punished for a crime they didn't commit."
Since every time I say "we need to talk", Frank says "what did I do wrong now?" and nothing I say can convince him that he didn't do anything wrong, we just need to talk, … well, I was interested in hearing what the authors suggested.
Their reasoning is that men feel the need to protect and by saying something isn't going right, they feel shame. So the minute you say "we need to talk", they get flooded with hormones that make them anxious and shameful. Women, according to the authors, feel the need to connect and when something isn't going right they usually feel fear, primarily fear of abandonment. They go on to explain how this drives couples further apart.
They offer a number of concrete suggestions for how to work better together without getting into the same ritual every time. (Women are supposed to try connecting and emphasizing without talking or criticizing, and men are supposed to try helping and talking.)
I found many of their points useful to think about in terms of my kids. I seem to spend a lot of my time telling my kids "no" and while reading this book, I found myself thinking a lot about how that must make them feel.
So while I don't agree with everything the authors say (there was a lot of gender stereotyping), they did have a lot of really good ideas and things to think about. I'd recommend reading, How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It.